Home / Blogs

Surfing the Internet in Bali: Reflections on IGF 2013

Joe Alhadeff

It's been a busy week for the Internet. More famous for its golden beaches, Bali recently hosted the eighth Internet Governance Forum which delivered waves of constructive discussion and debate.

Over the past few days, the Internet governance community has exchanged best practices and debated a wide range of key topics that will continue to pose questions for policy as the Internet evolves — questions extending from infrastructure deployment and its intersection with mobile innovation, to the role of government, security and data protection. All these topics have a place at the IGF and the business community is a firm believer that the forum provides a unique environment to discuss them across stakeholders.

Even early on in the week, this year's IGF was notable for it's a more open and candid atmosphere than usual. No items have been left off the agenda and the pervading issue of surveillance and data use has been talked about openly in discussions, as these topics naturally have a direct impact on trust issues surrounding the Internet.

As issues that impact Internet governance include delicate policy issues that go beyond discussions of technical implementation, there is an ever greater need for a forum dedicated to discussion and understanding, rather than drafting negotiated text. Contentious issues need to be aired in mutlistakeholder environments, allowing for open dialogue without the constraints of negotiating positions via text, which can artificially limit conversation. This is even more important when we consider that conversations at the annual IGF are also replicated in regional IGFs where some of the knowledge and capacity-building is fed back to the regions — not to mention its impact across online channels including social media.

Internet governance issues are now in the mainstream of international policy concerns and there is a growing realization among ordinary individuals that the management of the Internet concerns them — that, as a collective resource, they need to understand its use. At a time when we are witnessing a change in the dynamics between governments and other stakeholder groups, we need to promote greater cooperation amongst all organisations across the spectrum — civil society, private-sector, government, academia and the technical community.

That being said, there is increasing pressure on resources and more calls by some governments and organizations for greater emphasis on multilateral solutions. Business strongly believes in the importance of the multistakeholder model but recognizes that it's not a perfect model and needs to be improved and re-energized. This is especially true in light of new initiatives including the Montevideo Statement and possible Brazil meeting that we have heard more about during the course of this year's IGF.

The global business community welcomes any moves that serve to enhance the multistakeholder model and which encourage greater participation in Internet governance. However, as more detail around what might be on offer in these initiatives emerges, business also feels that it is enormously important to find a structured way to assure transparency and accountability to all stakeholders.

As we all look to bolster the fair and inclusive multistakeholder processes that have served the Internet so well since its inception, it's vital that we do not forget to practice what we preach — that we find a way to involve all stakeholder groups in the development and implementation of these proposals.

By Joe Alhadeff, Chair, ICC Digital Economy Commission/ICC BASIS. As Chair, Mr. Alhadeff helps the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy provide a forum for members to share insights on timely developments in the ICT field. More on ICC BASIS.

Related topics: Internet Governance


Don't miss a thing – get the Weekly Wrap delivered to your inbox.


To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Explore Topics

Dig Deeper

Mobile Internet

Sponsored by Afilias Mobile & Web Services

DNS Security

Sponsored by Afilias


Sponsored by Verisign

IP Addressing

Sponsored by Avenue4 LLC

Promoted Post

Buying or Selling IPv4 Addresses?

Watch this video to discover how ACCELR/8, a transformative trading platform developed by industry veterans Marc Lindsey and Janine Goodman, enables organizations to buy or sell IPv4 blocks as small as /20s. more»

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

Join Neustar's Town Hall Meeting and Help Shape the Future Of .US

Leading Internet Associations Strengthen Cooperation

i2Coalition to Present Tucows CEO Elliot Noss With Internet Community Leadership Award

Michele Neylon Appointed Chair Elect of i2Coalition

2016 U.S. Election: An Internet Forecast

Season's Greetings - 2015 End of Year Message from DotConnectAfrica

"The Market Has No Morality" Sophia Bekele Speaks on Business Ethics and Accountability

Dyn Comments on ICG Proposal for IANA Transition

DotConnectAfrica on "CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Action" at UNESCO, Paris

IBCA Presentation to ICANN GAC on Protection of Geographic Names in New gTLDs

Season's Greetings - 2014 End of Year Message from DotConnectAfrica

Domain Name .Africa Faces Hurdles - Q&A with Sophia Bekele

Afilias Director Wins ICANN's 2014 Leadership Award

DotConnectAfrica Contributes at the 9th IGF in Istanbul, Turkey

Video Interviews from ICANN 50 in London

ICANN London Recap Webinar

DotConnectAfrica Delegates Attend the Kenya Internet Governance Forum

Sophia Bekele Weighs in on Obama's August US-Africa Leader Summit at the NYF Africa

DotConnectAfrica's Expert Selected to Attend the Hague Institute of Global Justice

DotConnectAfrica Delegates Attend the KHRC Internet & Human Rights Breakfast Roundtable in Nairobi